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Travelling on a Regional Express train

At a glance

  • Regional train
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Switzerland

Overview

© Gatsi

Regional Express trains in Europe serve medium-distance routes within a region. Yet, with one or more changes of train, they can be used to make creative long-distance itineraries. They are ideal for travellers who want to avoid premium long-distance services and do not mind sacrificing speed. Regional Express services are faster than Regional Trains, but not as fast as Intercity services. In Germany, Poland and Switzerland they feature in timetables under the abbreviation RE, but these have equivalents elsewhere in Europe, as for example TER in France or Media Distancia (MD) in Spain. In Italy, these trains are commonly prefixed RV (Regionale Veloce) and in Austria, as REX.

Regional Express services feed into long-distance networks. Many regional trains make short cross-border forays into neighbouring countries (eg. from Austria into Hungary or from Germany to Luxembourg and France), but even on those international journeys these trains still cater mainly to local or regional demands.

Practical information

© Daniel Ammann, all rights reserved

Before you board

There are no check-in or customs procedures before boarding Regional Express trains. However, ticket control and passport checks may take place once onboard international services.

Onboard

Many Regional Express trains offer air conditioning, but generally they are practical rather than luxurious. They can be single or double-decker trains.

Luggage on Regional Express trains can be stored either in small luggage racks above the seat or under the seat. Some Regional Express trains, notably certain German RE and all Spanish MD services have further dedicated luggage space in each carriage. Bicycles can often be taken on board for a supplement. Read our Help article on taking your bikes on trains.

Some Regional Express trains, for example in Germany and Spain, have an onboard vending machine where you can buy soft drinks, tea or coffee and snacks. You can also choose to bring your own food and drink onboard.

Booking and printing options

Regional Express tickets are open for bookings 60 days in advance.

Prior seat reservation is not usually possible on Regional Express trains, but there are exceptions, such as in Spain where MD services must be reserved in advance.

Get the lowest prices on Regional Express trains by booking early and don’t wait until the last minute as cheaper seats sell out quickly.

Opt for off-peak Regional Express trains when you have to travel at short notice. Off-peak Regional Express trains are more affordable than ones that run mornings and evenings, Fridays and Sundays or during popular holidays.

Classes of service

Regional Express trains generally provide two classes of service: Standard Class and First Class. In Austria REX services have no first-class seating and a single (Standard) class is also the norm on Spanish MD and Polish RE trains.

Regional Express First Class

Some Regional Express trains designate one carriage or part of a carriage as First Class. The main reason for choosing First Class, when you can, is to avoid the crowds on busy routes at peak times. The extra costs for such an upgrade may be very modest. On some Regional Express trains, this upgrade secures access to power sockets, a reclining seat and more space.

Regional Express Standard Class

Seating in Regional Express trains might be in open-plan double or single-deck carriages or, where older carriages are still in use, in six-seat compartments. The latter are being phased out, however. In open-plan carriages, seats are arranged in pairs across a central aisle.

Child and youth passengers

The definition of "Child" and "Youth" varies by country and operator. This is why we ask for the age of young passengers.

Sometimes children below a certain age can travel without a seat for free. If you want to guarantee a seat for child passengers, enter '6' as the age of the child.

Read more about child and youth passenger ages. See also youth discounts and railcards.